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Monday, April 9, 2012

Out Every Night: The Best Shows From April 9 to 15

Posted By on Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Mustard Plug - Wednesday @ the Firebird
  • Mustard Plug - Wednesday @ the Firebird

​Happy day-after-Easter, everyone! Hope your holiday weekend was filled with marshmallow peeps and cadbury eggs and all of that other sickening Easter candy crap. This week brings us Canada's prog-metal act Protest the Hero, Australian vocal-pop group Human Nature (presented by Motown legend Smokey Robinson), and hip-hop super DJ Just Blaze's rescheduled show. Local weirdo-rock outfit Jack Buck will headline an eclectic line-up at Heavy Anchor on Friday to prepare for their upcoming performance at Steve Albini's 2012 PRF BBQ Fest in Chicago; local not-so-weirdo rocksters Cavo celebrate their new CD release at Cicero's this Sunday. Marlena Shaw, Mustard Plug and more to follow:


Protest the Hero Mon., April 9, 6:30pm @ Pop's - $15-17 By Daniel Hill Canada's progressive metal outfit Protest the Hero will be playing Pop's nightclub and concert venue on Monday, April 9. The Vagrant Records band formed in 1999, and since then it has toured with such acts as Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Alexisonfire, Bullet for My Valentine, Against Me!, Between the Buried and Me, Dragonforce, Avenged Sevenfold, 3 Inches of Blood and more. In 2004 the band was awarded the Canadian Independent Music Award for Favourite Metal Artist/Group. At the St. Louis stop of it's tour Protest the Hero will play alongside Periphery, the Jeff Loomis Band, The Safety Fire, and Today I Caught The Plague. ​​ ​​


Human Nature Tue., April 10, 7:30pm @ The Fox Theatre - $32-56 By Daniel Hill Australia's Human Nature may not be terribly well known in the states, but don't let that fool you: The vocal pop group are superstars in their home country, with 17 Top 40 hits, five Top Ten hits and a certified 1.6 million record sales since their inception in 1989. They've had a six-night-a-week residency at Las Vegas's Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino since 2009 and even had the Palace's showroom re-named in their honor, but as of yet have never toured through the states. This spring's tour will be a first for the group, who will be introduced at each show by Motown legend Smokey Robinson -- fitting, being that the group's last three wildly successful albums have been comprised of the group's own renditions of Motown classics.


Mustard Plug Wed., April 11, 7:00pm @ The Firebird - $12 By Daniel Hill Ah, ska: The genre that won't quit. From the original Jamaican ska born in the late fifties to the "2 Tone" of the seventies and yes, even the oft-ridiculed "Third Wave" ska-punk of the nineties, the infectious upstrokes and "pick it ups" central to the ska sound always seem to come back around ― sometimes to the chagrin of purists. Yes, Reel Big Fish got really annoying really fast, but it was far from the stand-out of the genre. Bands like Skankin' Pickle, the Blue Meanies, the Pietasters and even St. Louis's own MU330 proved that third-wave ska can be played in such a way that it doesn't make one want to shove a fork in one's own ear. Mustard Plug is another of these bands ― formed in 1991, it has been expertly balancing the punk and ska elements that define the genre for over twenty years. Just Accept It: History indicates that we are nearly due for a fourth wave. Musical cycles tend to move in twenty year increments, and the founder of the now-defunct Moon Ska Records started a new label in 2003....which, historically speaking, indicates to us a predicted mainstream comeback of 2015. Stock up on black and white checkered suspenders now.


Abigail Washburn Thu., April 12, 8:00pm @ The Sheldon - $15 By Roy Kasten With the passing of Earl Scruggs, attention has turned to the instrument that launched a thousand jokes: the banjo. But in the hands of masters like Scruggs, Béla Fleck or Ralph Stanley, its sound is no laughing matter. Add to that list Abigail Washburn, wife and collaborator with Fleck and accomplished frailer in the pre-Scruggs tradition. Washburn's rhythms are unstoppable but her adventurous singing and arranging distinguishes her work. Last year, with indie rocker Kai Welch and producer Tucker Martine, she released City of Refuge, one of the most exciting fusions of rock and old time music ever recorded. Last Time: Washburn opened for the Head and the Heart at the Duck Room in 2011 and won over the crunchy festival kids. This time she has a proper headlining gig at an ideal venue. ​​


Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps Fri., April 13, 9:00pm @ Off Broadway - $8-11 By Christian Schaeffer With a songbird's warble and a coterie of fuzzy, buzzy indie-folk signifiers, Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps make a joyful noise that's soothingly old and comfortably new. Smith's pre-war crooning and her bandmates' crunchy, sympathetic instrumentation recall the brighter moments of She & Him by using the singer's precociousness as a tease instead of a crutch. Let the Wurlitzer waves of "Tanktop" [sic] wash over and you make your early summer mix tapes during the unseasonably warm spring - the Good Night Sleeps sound better on a cooling breeze. All That's Missing is Morrissey and Marr: The Smiths are taking over Off Broadway, as April Smith and the Great Picture Show will perform alongside Caroline Smith and company.


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